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Introduction In the post-independence period, Azerbaijan has endured numerous problems characteristic of many post-Soviet Eurasian states in its path towards democratization. (1) Early independence period was marked by the inter-ethnic conflict in the Nagorno-Karabagh region, trials of state and nation-building, attempts at democratization and the need to secure domestic stability. Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Communist Party of Azerbaijan (CPAz) elite had been discredited and lost its legitimacy due to its leaders' reluctance to solve the Karabagh problem and to build a coalition with the then emerging counter-elite represented by the People's Front of Azerbaijan (PFA). The PFA was a typical mass movement aiming at declaring independence and building up a formation of a democratic nation-state. Stimulated first by autonomy and, then by independence demands of the Nagorno-Karabagh Armenians, the PFA emerged as the only leadership alternative to the existing ruling elite for a population furious with the inefficient rule of both the center, Moscow and the local administration of the CPAz. The People's Front was an organization uniting those who were willing to fight against the Soviet rule and propagate for the idea of independence. The PFA had quite a loose structure. It involved, ad-hoc, spontaneous decision-making mechanisms, and provided a roof for different and, in some cases, contradictory voices. It was made up of numerous leading figures whose co-habitation would not be possible in the later years of independence. The Front's success in organizing mass meetings at the Baku's main square (later named as the Freedom Square), and in consolidating popular support led to their coming to power under the presidency of Ebulfez Elchibey, the leader of the PFA. Although Elchibey was the first democratically elected president of Azerbaijan, his government could not ensure success in the progress of state affairs. He and other administrative cadres came to power through electoral as well as popular legitimacy; yet inefficiency in the state affairs discredited Elchibey's rule in a relatively short period of time. Moreover, the dormant structures of the Communist Party background, made up of a cadre of Soviet elites and existing bureaucracy, felt uneasy with the changes associated with the idea of independence. These changes were marked by a new regime type and democratic governance, represented by a new elite i.e. the leading cadres of the PFA; the idea of nation-building with strong emphasis on Turkism, rupture with the Soviet rule and serious distancing from Moscow. Consequently the old guard did not hesitate to show its disloyalty to the new government.

Politics & Current Events
June 22
International Relations Council of Turkey
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